The pot-legalization campaign that's faced down employee strikes and elections complaints from rivals has hung up its clipboards.
As first reported by Willamette Week, Paul Stanford, chief petitioner for the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), announced on Friday the campaign had ceased collecting signatures for Initiative Petitions 21 and 22. The initiatives would have changed state law and the Oregon constitution to allow for legal recreational use of marijuana, but the campaign couldn't convince enough voters to sign on.
Campaign officials haven't responded to requests for comment.
As we reported in this week's paper, CRRH was beset by challenges in recent weeks—all of them at the hands of legal pot supporters. Proponents of this year's other pot legalization campaign, the moneyed and establishment-backed New Approach Oregon, filed two elections complaints against CRRH in May. And the campaign's canvassers went on strike last week, complaining of late paychecks.
A rift between the CRRH and New Approach has been apparent, with Stanford pointing out he was involved in New Approach's effort early on before he says the campaign jettisoned him. In announcing the suspension of the CRRH complaints on his talk show Friday, Stanford pointed out that New Approach's Initiative Petition 53 is still in play, but stopped short of recommending it to his viewers.
"I was involved in the earlier parts of drafting it, not in the final stages," Stanford said. "I like ours better, but the big multi-millionaire funders out there didn't. They backed I-53 and it remains to see whether anything will be on the ballot. But time will tell."
New Approach's measure looks likely to make the ballot. The campaign last week crowed that it's collected more than 100,000 signatures. It will likely need more before the July 3 filing deadline if it hopes to turn in 87,213 valid signatures, since a sizable portion are typically tossed out in the vetting process.
Nonetheless, the campaign has guaranteed it will go before voters this fall. And recent polling suggests IP53 has a decent chance of passing, especially if those big multimillionaire funders Stanford alluded to keep giving generously.
The last time Oregon voted on the issue was 2012, when Stanford's Measure 80 garnered 47 percent of the vote without substantial funding.